Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

White House Responds to Mueller's Latest Russia Indictments - Katie Pavlich

White House Responds to Mueller's Latest Russia Indictments - Katie Pavlich

The charges were drawn up by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 vote and whether any members of Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.

US intelligence agencies have said the interference was aimed at helping the presidential campaign of Republican Donald Trump and harming the election bid of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's emails were also hacked, which contained details of infighting and aides' disparaging remarks about Mrs Clinton.

He said the indictments were "further proof of what everyone but the President seems to understand - President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win".

Trump said he did not know who was orchestrating the election hacking but suggested it was "probably China", adding that if it was hypothetically Russian Federation intelligence, it would show their lack of reverence for the United States. Clinton and her campaign argue that the emails were personal in nature and not work-related, lamenting that they did not delete the emails after receiving a congressional subpoena from the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

By June 2016, the defendants, relying on fictional personas like DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, began planning the release of tens of thousands of stolen emails, the indictment alleges.

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Mueller did not allege that Trump campaign associates were involved in the hacking effort, that Americans were knowingly in touch with Russian intelligence officers or that any vote tallies were altered by hacking.

Giuliani tweeted a statement saying that the indictments, announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, show that Trump should be vindicated in the election interference probe.

The White House echoed some of those sentiments.

The men are military officers, who Rosenstein says tried to hack computer networks and use different tactics to gather information.

Mueller's indictment appears to mention the transaction, mentioning that in August, 2016, "the conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, transferred approximately 2.5 gigabytes of stolen data from the DCCC to a then-registered state lobbyist and online source of political news".

Before Friday's indictment, Mueller's team had charged 20 individuals and three companies as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump's campaign.

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To help mask their Russian origins, the military officers used networks of computers located across the world, including in the U.S., and paid for it using Bitcoin.

The GRU, which answers to the Russian military's General Staff, is part of the state machine and its involvement would indicate that the orders to interfere in the US election came from the very top.

The laundry list of charges included conspiracy against the United States, identity theft, money laundering and attempts to break into state election boards and various government agencies.

A few hours before the indictments were announced, Trump described the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt" that is hurting the United States relationship with Russian Federation.

The deputy attorney general's press conference came as Trump was meeting Queen Elizabeth II and just three days before his meeting with Putin in Helsinki.

Chris Christie, a one-time Trump advisor and ABC News consultant, said Mueller wanted Trump to enter his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin with this indictment in front of him. Pure stupidity. But it makes it very hard to do something with Russian Federation.

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